When I campaigned to be President of the Oxford University Student Union, I claimed on several occasions that a world class university with students of world class potential deserves a world class student union. In order for us to achieve that aim we have to be dynamic, more responsive and more professional.
Within a year we have seen important to changes to OUSU that will bring us closer to becoming the student union that Oxford students deserve. Instead of having an elected officer running the finances of OUSU, this summer has seen the introduction of a Strategic and Financial Manager, a change that will provide stability and continuity to our finances.
We have employed a Student Advisor for the Student Advice Service, a step in the right direction if OUSU wants to keep up with our peers at other universities. This summer has also witnessed the start of the OUSUPulse partnership, a project that will ensure that students will always have the opportunity to enjoy safe, affordable and entertaining nights out.
More change is also around the corner. This week I will ask the OUSU Council to vote to hold a referendum on the biggest structural overhaul in the 34-year history of the Student Union – turning OUSU into a charity, creating a Trustee Board and establishing committees of Council to make OUSU Council more efficient.
I will also ask the Council to permit me to create a working party that will produce a report about the demand for and financial implications of a central student centre, with a view to voting on the issue by the end of the year. Some students argue that OUSU isn’t important at all, and would even go as far as to argue that work of the Oxford University Student Union is a waste of time.
I ran for President because it’s important that we as a community prevent students from being riddled with debt, facing astronomical rent rises, and being unfairly punished by the proctors. It’s important to ensure that we unlock the potential of students in the state sector through the OUSU Target Schools Scheme, which tries to debunk myths about Oxford. It is also important that we give back to the community, through the OUSU Raise and Give campaign.
It’s important that we campaign to ensure equal treatment of women, religious groups, the LGBTQ community, ethnic groups and the disabled through OUSU’s autonomous campaigns, and it’s important that OUSU gives students the opportunity to work for a student newspaper or a student radio station during their time here. Students also deserve a fun and safe time during their time in Oxford and that’s why it’s important that OUSU should provide a safety bus, run Freshers Fair and run popular club nights throughout the week.
The work of the Oxford University Student Union has never been more crucial. Change is happening, so get involved.